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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Offensive Begins to Retake IS 'Capital' in Syria

By VOA News November 06, 2016

U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syrian forces launched an offensive Sunday to gain control of Raqqa, the Syrian city that has become the de facto capital for Islamic State militants.

A commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced the start of the campaign Sunday.

The U.S. envoy in charge of anti-IS efforts confirmed the SDF, a Kurdish-led group that also includes Arab fighters, is receiving American air support in the operation.

"The Raqqa campaign will proceed in phases," Brett McGurk said from the U.S. embassy in Amman. "There's an isolation phase, which began today, and there will be subsequent phases to make sure that we kick Daesh out of Raqqa," he added, using an alternate name for the armed extremist group.

Islamic State militants overran the city in northern central Syria in early 2014.

At the same time, a separate group supported by the U.S. and other countries is attempting to regain control of the IS-controlled Iraqi city of Mosul.

"The international coalition will continue to do what we can to enable local forces in both Iraq and Syria to deliver [Islamic State] the lasting defeat it deserves," U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Sunday.



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